In 2022 I helped Few&Far – a UK-based recruitment agency that specializes in growing product teams – revamp their website.
The project was a joy to work on (that happens when you have awesome clients – shoutout to Marta Zemljić!) and a success in terms of the final result.
Today, I’d love to share with you the process we followed to get there – it’s the same process I use on every web project, and it’s been honed over 10 years while working with 100+ clients.
But before we get into the process, let’s start with some of the challenges we were facing when it came to the old F&F website.
While every project is unique, most of my website clients come to me with the same challenges over and over again.
✕ Services weren’t 100% clear
While there was some copy on the site that spoke to this, there was no clear “this is what we do and who we do it for” statement (which was important, as F&F specializes in a particular niche).
There was also no clear explanation of the comprehensive process offered for each service, which turned out to be a big selling point/differentiator.
✕ The “journey” for each target audience needed to be clearer
F&F offers multiple services and serves three distinct audiences, yet the old website didn’t do a great job of making this clear (particularly in the copy itself and in the navigation).
They did have sections and pages that spoke to each audience, but they weren’t always placed in the best areas or communicated in ways that helped each audience quickly & seamlessly achieve their goals.
✕ No clear priority of the audience or services
When you offer multiple services and/or serve multiple audiences, it’s generally a good idea to prioritize the most important services and/audience type so there is a sense of focus across the site and within the user experience.
This was not the case with the old F&F site which made the UX feel a bit unfocused and perhaps more difficult to navigate.
✕ Lack of strategy / consistency across offerings
When you have multiple services, consistency across presentation is key, as it helps prospective customers quickly understand what each service is, what’s included, if it’s for them, etc.
It also allows them to easily compare options in an “apples to apples” sort of way, and feels more purposeful and polished.
While F&F had a page for each audience, there was no consistent structure or content between them, making it difficult for visitors to see (and compare) all of the amazing offerings.
✕ Unique selling points / differentiators were not clear
F&F has some of the most fantastic selling points and differentiators, but they were not being clearly communicated in an effective way.
They were either obscured with unclear copy, buried in the middle of chunky paragraphs, or absent from the website entirely.
✕ Copy wasn’t always clear & specific – or focused on outcomes/results
While there were a few lines of copy I really loved from the old website, the majority of the copy wasn’t always clear, specific, or focused on outcomes/results.
This challenge also extended into the navigational/page labels, which were a bit ambiguous (not ideal when trying to set clear expectations for visitors).
✕ Missing proof
F&F has over 200+ 5-star reviews, yet that information wasn’t prominent on the old website. And the reviews are some of the best I’ve seen, but they weren’t threaded throughout the website in strategic ways.
F&F also had other forms of proof (like a money-back guarantee for certain services, a decade of experience, awards, etc) that were either missing or not always used in the most effective ways.
As mentioned above, these types of challenges are incredibly common – I see them again and again with my website clients.
Which is why I’m able to quickly identify challenges and come up with solutions using a combination of research, structure/UX, messaging, and design.
Below I take you through the process so you can see it in action.
Psst! This is the same process I teach in my website bootcamp: How to Build Websites That Convert! (reopens this fall)
Step 1: Onboarding
Most new jobs start with an onboarding process to get new employees up to speed.
I follow a similar process when working with new clients, starting with my Discovery Questionnaire – a 30-question doc that helps me understand all things related to the company, services, customers, competitors, tone of voice, and more.
I also ask for documentation related to the business such as personas, style guides, customer research, testimonials, keywords, access to analytics, etc.
The F&F team went above and beyond to provide me with more than enough information to get fully up to speed – and made me feel like part of the team in a very short amount of time.
Step 2: Internal & external research
Once I have a better sense of the business, it’s time to dive DEEP on the target audience, starting with a Strategy Workshop.
The workshop is a form of internal research with the goal of learning everything I can about the target audience from the client’s perspective.
During a Strategy Workshop, I ask questions to help me determine where the target audience is within the sales funnel, their core challenges and goals, potential barriers and drivers, and so much more.
After the workshop is complete, it’s time for external research which can take the form of review mining, surveys, interviews, competitive research, analytics analysis, and more.
External research is used to validate (or invalidate) the internal research while also providing us with more data points and insights we’ll use to shape the IA & copy.
In the case of F&F, the external research consisted of analyzing their 200+ 5-star Google reviews in search of recurring themes and Voice of Customer data I used to create the IA and write the copy.
A competitive analysis was also conducted to get a better sense of the broader landscape and to identify gaps and opportunities in the market.
And finally, a site audit was conducted to get a sense of what was working, what wasn’t, and what needed to change moving forward in terms of the structure, user experience, and messaging.
Once all of the research was completed, it went into the Insights Report, a robust document featuring everything that was learned during the research phase.
The report helps me and the client get on the same page about what we know about the target audience and how to effectively engage them through the new website.
Step 3: Information Architecture (IA)
Once the Insights Report is approved, I move straight into the Information Architecture which is basically a blueprint of the website from a content perspective.
As mentioned above, F&F offers multiple services and serves 3 distinct audiences — and that much complexity can easily turn into a bloated navigation, a confusing UX & unnecessary content or pages.
For this reason, we focused on consolidating and organizing information in the clearest, most intuitive ways both in the navigation and on the pages themselves.
We were thoughtful about what pages we needed – and more importantly, what was not needed.
We cut out unnecessary content in favor of persuasive information that would help differentiate the brand while selling prospective clients, candidates, and future employees.
We looked for opportunities to incorporate various forms of proof to reinforce the claims we were making throughout the site.
And we created templates for the various service and audience-specific pages, ensuring clarity and consistency across the board.
The end result is a clear, intuitive, user-friendly experience that supports the goals of the business, as well as the goals of the visitors.
Step 4: Copywriting
Once we had the structure of the website, it was time to fill it in with words (yes, copy is the last part of the process!).
Copy is always a mix of internal and external input – from the client, the customers, and from me.
When I began writing for F&F, I returned to my Voice of Customer Data (pulled during review mining) and the pre-work done with the F&F team (where we discussed the business, services, and target audiences in detail).
While direct quotes can sometimes be used in the copy, I find that it’s more about finding inspiration in the data and translating that into clear, concise, and effective words.
It’s also a collaborative process – and this is especially important for niche products as there’s always terminology and language that must be used in the right way in order to feel authentic.
F&F is also a UK-based brand, so maintaining British spelling and voice was also a factor during the writing and editing process.
Outside of the above, I was focused on clearly explaining all of the amazing things F&F offers their audiences – from their services and comprehensive processes, to their unique selling points, differentiators, and more – which I believe we accomplished by the end of the copywriting phase.
See for yourself by checking out the new F&F site here!
Step 5: Translating copy into design
Once the copy was complete, the design team (along with hands-on guidance from F&F) took over and began translating everything into a beautiful, modern, user-friendly design.
Once the words were in design, I was able to provide minor copy edits and tweaks – like shortening, rewriting, fixing typos, etc – to ensure the site felt as polished as possible.
This is an important part of the process, as there can sometimes be discrepancies between what works in a Google doc vs in a visual, dynamic environment (like a website).
You also want to leave visitors with a sense of trust and professionalism (which can be eroded by things like typos, lack of consistency in language or design, etc).
In the end, the site came out beautifully – and the F&F team was very happy with the results.
Working with the F&F team was a dream – they’re amazing people doing awesome work and they